Subdued price levels point to more policy easing
Updated: 2015-01-09 10:23
Consumers shop in a supermarket in Xuchang city, Central China's Henan province, Dec7, 2014. [Asianewsphoto by Geng Guoqing]
BEIJING - China's consumer inflation remained weak in December while price declines at the factory gate level continued to deepen, suggesting weakness in the world's second-largest economy but will create space for policy makers to take easing measures.
Growth in the consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rebounded to 1.5 percent in December from November's 1.4 percent, its slowest increase since November 2009, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.
On a monthly basis, December's CPI edged up 0.3 percent against the previous month, reversing the downward trend experienced since September.
This small pick-up in December's consumer inflation was mostly driven by food prices, said Chang Jian, Barclays chief China economist.
Food prices, which account for about one-third of the CPI calculation's weighting, rose 2.9 percent from a year ago in December, compared to 2.3 percent the previous month.
Growth in non-food prices, however, fell to a 56-month low of 0.8 percent, led by falling transportation and housing costs, Chang said.
China's consumer prices grew 2 percent in 2014 from one year earlier, well below the government's 3.5 percent target set for the year. It was also below the 2.6 percent growth registered in 2013.
Producer price index (PPI) slumped 3.3 percent in December from one year earlier, the sharpest fall in more than two years, and the decline deepened from November's 2.7 percent fall.
Tumbling oil and other commodity prices have extended the run of producer-price declines to a record 34 months.
PPI fell 1.9 percent year on year in 2014.
The easing inflationary pressure will give the central bank more room to initiate measures to support growth.